V D Savarkar was a reformer and revolutionary:
- Padma Bhushan Anant Vitthal, who is also known as Dhananjay Keer, outlined the difference between a social reformer and a social revolutionary.
- As per him, a reformer rebuilds what is already present, while a revolutionary demolishes the old and rebuilds from scratch.
- Like BR Ambedkar, Savarkar was not only a reformer, he was an active social revolutionary.
His various contributions
Fought against caste system:
- Savarkar worked relentlessly on abolishing the caste system.
- He provided guidance on how to abolish the caste system and untouchability.
- Savarkar said: “To achieve social revolution, we first have to strike at the birth-based caste system and bridge the differences between the various castes. As an action plan, a person born into a Brahmin family should be called a laggard if he is one and a person born in a shudra family must be called intelligent if he is one no matter whether their fathers and forefathers were intelligent or laggards.”
- In 1929, he organised yagyopaweet (sacred thread) ceremonies and recitation of the Vedas, community dining and temple entry — all targeted at those who were then considered untouchables.
Insisted on scientific temper:
- Savarkar’s thoughts on scientific temper are also accepted in the Constitution. He believed that the foundation of a nation’s philosophy should be based on scientific temper, and that this was key to India becoming a strong, modern and developed nation.
- The Constitution has underlined scientific temper, humanism, spirit of enquiry and reform as the fundamental duties binding on its citizens.
- He said scientific temper is a modern and practical thought process, and that “out today should not be restricted by yesterday’s religious text, and our tomorrow should definitely not be restricted by the same”.
- What is scientific temper?
- Scientific inventions and industrialisation alone are not scientific temper — rather the process of arriving at a conclusion using one’s own analysis is scientific temper.
- To analyse something based on one’s own understanding, reached through an inquisitive mind, with an eye for detail, and then accepting that conclusion with an open mind, is scientific temper.
- Savarkar also strongly believed that scientific temper was not only required for nation-building but also for human well-being — his social transformation agenda was based on the tenets of humanism and scientific temper.
As a poet:
- A poet, Savarkar penned 10,000 lines on prison walls, using whatever tools were available since he was not provided writing material.
- Later, he made fellow inmates memorise those lines so that they could be published.
- Words such as Doordarshan for TV, Akashavani for radio, Mahapaur for Mayor, and Parshad for municipal councillor, were coined by Savarkar.
Called for full independence:
- Savarkar was the first political leader to daringly set Independence as India’s goal in 1900 (not the Dominion status, as was targeted by many leaders of the time), which was accepted much later by the Congress in its Lahore session in 1929.
Designed tricolour flag representing various religions:
- In 1907, Bhikhaiji Cama raised a tricolour at an international conference in Stuttgart, Germany, designed by Savarkar.
- The flag with green, yellow and red fields represented Islam, Hindu and Buddhism.
Note: There is a fair amount of criticism seen in general of Savarkar. This article will help students gain a more balanced perspective about this personality who’s frequently in news.